White at Brixton House online
White, the first in Koko Brown’s Colour trilogy, is an engaging performance centred on Brown’s experience growing up mixed race in London. Originally performed in 2017, the production is now available to stream through the Brixton House’s online service, House to House, and proves a compelling watch despite the lacking video quality. Although struggling with technical limitations and continuous audio jumps, White offers a strong contemporary message that speaks to our current times.
Written and performed by Brown, the hour-long one-woman show is a non-traditional performance that projects a personal and gig-like atmosphere throughout. Opening with Brown dancing to Michael Jackson’s Black or White before bantering with the audience, White is first presented as a lighthearted and humorous performance but quickly evolves into a vulnerable portrait with a strong political message. The carefree dancing soon transforms into original music, poetry and spoken word detailing Brown’s personal struggle with race and identity.
The production presents original songs about self-struggle and honest passages about feeling caught between two cultures. The uses of multiple performance devices paired with dynamic lighting creates a captivating black box production, making certain that the audience’s attention is fully focused on Brown and her story. The use of different performance styles enhances the metaphorical and raw dynamic of the performance, but simultaneously proves this recorded version’s downfall.
Brown alternates between using two on-stage microphones and talking to the audience directly without technological accompaniment. This proves jarring, causing audio disparities as it is clear that sound has not been taken into account when conducting the recording, doing the production a disservice. However, despite technical issues, it proves a unique performance, with a personal story that cannot be ignored.
White is needed as the UK and the world continue to face their continued racial prejudices and injustices. The work is deeply affecting and sincere. As we witness Brown embracing both sides of her heritage, White is thought-provoking and touching.
Image: courtesy of Brixton House/Koko Brown